This week’s Key Studio Session featured art-pop outfit Vita and the Woolf, giving us a preview of its forthcoming EP Fang Song along with even newer songs not on the EP. The band will celebrate the EP’s release at Ortlieb’s on September 20th. Check out “Mary” below and get the full set here.
Long-time Philadelphia indie-rock favorites Dr. Dog are set to take the stage at the Mann tonight. With over eight albums and a handful of EPs under their belts, the six-piece has a plethora of material to chose from to curate a rockin’ set-list. Their most recent album, B-Room, has a psychedelic flair with tracks like “The Truth” and “Love.” For tickets and more information head over to the XPN Concert Calender. Below, check out the music video for “Shadow People.” Continue reading →
On a Monday morning in early June, Dr. Dog’s tour van pulled into the parking lot of Stage AE in Pittsburgh. It was technically their day off, but the band had work to do before headlining the venue the following night. They had just played the Wakarusa festival in Ozark, Arkansas, and while they were there, they took in a set by The Flaming Lips, met Wayne Coyne and got to talking. It turns out Coyne and the Lips were planning an ambitious, star-studded tribute to The Beatles‘ iconic, influential psychedelic opus, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts’ Club Band – and they wanted Dr. Dog on board, with one catch – they had to work fast. Continue reading →
Back in in the winter, on the heels of their eighth album B-Room‘s fall release, Dr. Dog headlined two sold-out hometown shows at the Electric Factory, like they’ve done for every album they’ve released since 2010′s Shame, Shame. But like I said at the time, they have a way of giving a huge nightclub / warehouse the intimacy of a living room, and I think that stems from the band being the opposite of typical rock stars. Anyone who’s bumped into them and had a conversation with them will tell you they’re the most down to earth dudes imaginable, and that comes across in the photos we’re bringing you for today’s installment of the Dr. Dog Days of Summer. Continue reading →
Songs are one thing that Dr. Dog isn’t short on. Before it broke out in 2005 with the Easy Beat LP, the band had a robust back-catalog of home-recordings that were available in varying forms – most notably 2003′s Toothbrush, still a cult favorite. But even today, their records come in accompanying deluxe editions, containing usually an EP’s worth of extra material that handily holds up to the the stuff on the album proper. And it’s not like this is stuff that you’ll never hear anywhere but the iTunes library of the Dr. Dog completist – the band is known for digging deep into the vaults in setlists. For today’s installment of the Dr. Dog Days of Summer, here are ten essential deep cuts from the Dr. Dog vaults – any or all of these would make totally sweet inclusions at the band’s Lawn of Mann show this Saturday. Continue reading →
One of the XPN-verse’s favorite Philly bands of the past decade is, without a doubt, the psychedelic popsters of Dr. Dog. They’re the rare band in the rock world with tremendous likeability and crossover appeal. Staunch classic rock advocates appreciate their devotion to the three B’s – The Beach Boys, The Beatles and The Band. Indie fans appreciate their mind-bendy psych rock trips and DIY sensibilities. Jam scene devotees love their instrumental prowess and fearless drive to rock out and be in the moment. And fans of good songwriting, well, they like that these guys write a heck of a lot of good songs. Continue reading →
For the past few albums, Philly rock and roll faves Dr. Dog have staged their hometown shows at the Electric Factory, usually selling the place out and more recently on back-to-back nights. While they’ve really begun to own that room and, as I observed in the winter, craft a friendly and familial atmosphere in what is pretty much a big warehouse, the question lingered in the air: when is the band going to take the next step?
Today, we got that answer: as it’s B-Room tour wraps around the country on another leg, Dr. Dog will headline the Skyline Stage at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, September 14th, a setting that couldn’t be more perfect. The capacity is just slightly bigger than the Factory, so it may not be a huge jump, but playing the Skyline is a great gateway to playing the Mann proper – and I can’t wait to see the boys rock (and pack) that house. And also, watching a show in open-air setting in the grove on a breezy late summer Saturday night with the city lights twinkling behind you and Dr. Dog in front of you could not possibly be a more Philly concert. Maybe if the Phanatic showed up again, or The Roots were there, but you get what I’m saying – this is going to be a treat.
Also a treat are the openers: Canadian impresario Mac DeMarco, who cunningly bridges the worlds of lo-fi drum-machine indie / weirdo rock (think Ariel Pink, Animal Collective) with the energy and in-yo-face attitude of mainstream party rock (Andrew W.K.), as well as Jersey’s The Front Bottoms, whose high energy poppy folk-punk is completely infectious and endearing (check out their new Rose EP or their recent Indie Rock Hit Parade session to see). Arrive early, stay late. UPDATE: Holy smokes the first opener is actually amazing Philly art punks Hop Along according to the flyer on Dr. Dog’s Twitter. Freaking out over here.
This month, and this month only, WXPN is making 20 World Cafe performances available for free. Cafe host and producer David Dye dug into the past year’s archives and each week will release five new songs. The only catch is all 20 of them will disappear on February 28th at midnight. So get ‘em while you can and tell your friends. Enjoy the music.
Rainbows, sunglasses, action! PA natives Dr. Dog took the stage for the second of two nights before a sold-out Electric Factory crowd, touring in support of their 2013 release of B-Room. Dr. Dog is a band of dichotomies: they’re tight, but radiate loose vibes; they rock, but in a delicate kind of way; they’re passionate, but don’t take themselves too seriously. What’s more, bassist Toby Leaman and guitarist Scott McMicken share the role of lead vocalist; Leaman’s soulful, passionate timbre acting as somewhat of an antithesis to McMicken’s idiosyncratic sound.
After opening up their set with a relatively vanilla performance of their latest sweet-like-candy track, “The Truth”, Leaman showed off his classically rock-and-roll voice and rollicking bass line on “These Days”. For fans who came with the intention of dancing and clapping along, the latest and greatest “Broken Heart” featured some boiling hot energy and one of those signature Dr. Dog double guitar solos that we all so adore (for which we have but Steely Dan to thank). The next three tunes were a stylistic trifecta, jumping from Beatles-y rock goodness (“Ain’t It Strange”) to a first-rate soulful blues (“The Beach”) to pure jammed out psychedelia (“Say Ahh”).
Remember that bit about loose vibes? Unfortunately, in what I believe to be an effort to be that feel-good band Dr. Dog aspires to be, certain songs ended up being so loose as to unravel. “Twilight”, whose true identity is a subdued ‘60s psychedelic ballad, simply sounded out of place and poorly rehearsed. “Worst Trip”, which channels the likes of George Harrison on the recording, was, to put it in a word, noisy, and I couldn’t quite appreciate the true greatness of another one of those killer double guitar solos. All that said, Dr. Dog still puts on a hell of a show. “Lonesome” was an all-out party, fans greeting the band with well-syncopated “Hey’s” and Leaman letting out his inner rockstar, leaping into the hands of audience members to crowd surf. They even brought out the much-beloved Philly Phanatic (who was probably a better dancer than most of us) for “Oh No” during the encores.
Joining Dr. Dog was Saint Rich, the up-and-coming New Jersey residents whose rock solid riffs rival those of the great Keith Richards. What these guys lacked in rainbow light shows and colorful getups, they made up for with some the best stage presence in the game, frontman Christian Peslak climbing to the edge of the Electric Factory balcony and mingling with fans. All told, if you’re into rock, blues, prog, psychedelia (or just about anything else that emerged from the 20th century stylistically), and you don’t mind some high-voltage stage antics and rainbow beams of light flooding the air in all directions, I’d say a Dr. Dog show is the best place you could be.
Only Dr. Dog could play for a sold-out crowd of 3500 fans and make it feel as cozy as a living room show. Kicking off a two-night stand at the Electric Factory last night, the band blew through a 23-song set showcasing its fine new outing B-Room - the band’s eighth – while also skipping across what bassist Toby Leaman called “the proverbial vaults.” Moreover, there was a comfort level in the air that usually dissipates for artists the larger the venues get and the longer they perform. But for these Philly rock and roll stalwarts, the hometown show still feels like home.
There were the Philly friends they brought onstage – Rob Berliner of Hoots and Hellmouth, who sat in on keys for “Love,” and an unidentified woman who strummed the acoustic guitar part on their cover of “Heart it Races” by Architecture in Helsinki (a cover that, impressively, has surpassed the original in recognizablility). Leaman sent “Nellie” out to his wife Sarah and their baby daughter, before joking that he’d also like to dedicate “Shadow People” to “my beautiful baby Scott McMicken. Look at him, he’s walking now! It’s amazing.” Scott responded by hobbling around his mic, toddler style, before kicking into the song’s instantly recognizable opening chords and opening up a sea of voices.
That’s the other thing – the singalong / clapalong rapport these guys Dr. Dog has developed over time. Fans might not necessarily think about it while listening to the albums, but they somewhere subconsciously know all the words to “Jackie Wants a Black Eye” or “Ain’t It Strange” or “The Rabbit, The Bat and The Reindeer,” and quite likely sang themselves hoarse last night. At least I did anyway.
While the set wasn’t without imperfections – a guitar lead that went awry in “Oh No,” scattered vocal pitchiness on “Love” – those imperfections just reinforced that Dr. Dog is a real and approachable band of everyday people, in addition to being a band with an outstanding live energy.
“Too Weak To Ramble,” Leaman’s solo acoustic sad-man ballad on B-Room, was fleshed out into a soulful full-band gospel jam.
There was an instrumental number mid-set that might be the deepest of deep jams for these guys, or it might be a cover; it sounded like Stan Getz. They also dusted off their debut Toothbrush EP for an outstanding “Jealous Man.” (UPDATE: per Eric Slick and commenters below and on Facebook, the instrumental was also from Toothbrush. It’s called “Say Ahhh.” And I still say sounded like Stan Getz. -JV)
A great McMicken quote after the rousing “don’t give it up” coda of “My Friend” – “Every band should build a part into a song where they rock super hard on an E chord. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Per Instagram’s geotag, some dude in the crowd got butt naked for reasons unclear.
Leaman dove into the crowd at the end of the main set, hugged fans and raced along the barricade hi-fiving those in the front row – again, making the Electric Factory feel like a house party. Dr. Dog returns to its stage tonight for a second sold out show.
Lancaster County wavemakers The Districts played a very well-received opening set, hitting on their just-released self-titled EP (out on Fat Possum on Tuesday) as well as a few other scattered cuts – some new, some old. “Funeral Beds” sounded remarkable, the closing “Young Blood” – the epic number that wrapped up their XPoNential Music Festival set – was raging, and the guys seemed very much at home on the Electric Factory stage. Hopefully it won’t be too long till we see them there again.